War in the Hollow: Dec. 26, ‘36

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I am nearly done here.

They are becoming more difficult to find, but I find them still.

Today, when the sun had only begun to rise, I was already moving through the fog as it lingered over the battlefield.

I climbed a small hill and came upon a group of them engaged in the act of burying their dead.

Who these men were, or how they came to be in this version of Cross, I do not know. Perhaps they were prisoners. Perhaps they had merely adopted the garb of foreigners in an attempt to evade my attention.

It doesn’t matter to me.

They froze, shovels in hand, bodies half lowered. Their eyes told me they knew who I was, what I had done, what I intended to do.

There were no weapons near them, and they were not clad in uniforms.

One man cleared his throat, straightened up, and I drew my Colts and killed him.

They abandoned their shovels, the corpses of their friends, and who can blame them?

Not I.

Neither did I let them live, though.

I shot each of them in the back, and not a single shot was a killing one.

Far from it.

I needed them to serve as a message for any others who might think to run from me.

As their screams rang out through the morning air, I staked them down to the ground, stripping them bare and leaving them naked. With my Bowie knife, I put a maggot hole in each man’s belly.

By the time I finished, I could hear beasts grumbling and snuffling.

They reached the hilltop a moment later, long, dark creatures pressed low to the earth, dozens of legs propelling them forward. Skittering, they clambered over the corpses and found the living.

In a heartbeat, each man was shrieking.

For a short time, I watched, reloaded my Colts, and then turned my back on the early morning meal. As I made my way back down the hill, I heard one of the creatures break out in song. Soon, all of them lifted their voices to the sky, and when I understood what it was they were singing, I smiled.

It was a song of thanks.

#horror #fear #fiction #art

Flashback to 2018 and Merry Christmas!

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On December 25, 1940, during a heavy snowfall.

At Farley Farm on South Road, the entire Farley family – consisting of both parents, all six children, and both sets of grandparents – were ill. Duncan Blood and young Doctor Charlene Williams stopped by the home to administer to the sick. During the day, Dr. Williams left to obtain some fresh soup, and on her return, she saw a horse in the yard. She tried to approach the home, but could not get any closer, no matter how long she walked, nor in which direction she tried to go.

Finally, frustrated, she returned to town and found a member of the police who agreed to accompany her.

In the officer’s patrol car, they experienced the same difficulty she had on foot. No matter how fast the car drove, it could not draw any nearer. At last, with his car nearly out of fuel, the officer had been forced to return to Cross.

Close to midnight, the officer, one of his colleagues, and Dr. Williams again made an attempt. As they traveled along South Road, they passed a small boy, bundled against the snow and riding a horse. He waved cheerfully at them as they steered around him, and Dr. Williams returned the wave.

When they neared the house, they were surprised to see discover that they could continue directly toward it. It was then that Dr. Williams noticed that the horse was gone and that Duncan Blood stood outside.

The house burst into flames as the officers and Dr. Williams climbed out of the patrol car. Duncan stopped the three of them from racing into the spreading inferno.

“They’re dead,” Duncan explained. “They have been since the boy arrived. He gave them the day, you see. One last Christmas.”

#CrossMassachusetts #horror #scary #death #flashfiction #shortshort #writerofinstagram #Christmas

War in the Hollow: Dec. 24, ‘36

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Christmas Eve and I am surrounded by death.

These men, or what remains of them, did not die by my hand.

Their flesh has been torn and rent asunder by teeth, not blade or bullet. Little is left of them, other than faces slack with the banality of death. Who they were, I neither know nor do I care. If I had found them first, then their fate would have been the same.

I don’t bother pushing them out of the shattered tank. I have slept among corpses more than once, and it is company I do not mind.

A cold rain hammers against the steel, runs down in rivulets, the water mixed with petrol and blood. I have wrapped myself in a pair of blankets, salvaged from the dead crew, and a slicker from the same.

The sun is setting and I’ll not risk the comfort of a pipe. I want to sleep, and the smell of tobacco might draw unwanted attention from whatever creatures are emboldened by the destruction I have wrought upon the land.

Instead, I will sit here, gaze out darkness, and remember Christmases long past when those I loved were still alive, and I could find comfort in their arms.

#horror #fear #art #christmaseve #christmas

War in the Hollow: Dec. 23, ‘36

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They are running out of places to hide.

I have burned them out of their homes and chased them into the fields where they practiced their arts of war.

I have poisoned their wells and spoiled their food.

What is more, I have allowed the creatures of this version of Hollow to creep forward from the darkness.

They had been driven underground, far from the eyes of these men and women. Some monsters, it is true, formed alliances with humanity, but they are few and far between.

Now though, as I lay waste to this place, I am finding fewer and fewer men to hunt.

At first, I thought they had escaped.

But there are only a few portals from this place, and all save the one I came through appear to be guarded by the Hollow’s monsters.

More than once, I have come upon some troll feasting in the shadow of a hill or a giant grinding bones to make his bread.

All of it pleases me.

These creatures do not attack, and so I stay my hand. We are all of the same mind and of the same goal: the destruction of this place.

I came upon a small hillock, beneath which there was a well-camouflaged entrance, and an exhausted soldier standing before it. Mournfully, he stared down at the remnants of a machinegun, and when he heard my approach and looked up, I saw he was without a weapon. He held his hands up and asked for mercy.

I put a round through his right thigh and sent him stumbling back into the entrance of the cave. He shrieked, terrified, and tried to scramble away, but long, dark tentacles snaked out, took hold of him, and dragged him back into the shadows.

The cave magnified the screams of the dying man, and the satisfied grunts of whatever creature feasted upon him.

I waited a moment, and when I was sure the soldier would not be returning, I turned and went in search of more prey.

They were becoming harder to find.

#horror #fear #art #christmas

War in the Hollow: Dec. 22, ‘36

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Their world is burning.

The fire in the forest, started by the cigarette dropped by a dying man, continues to burn.

I will do nothing to extinguish it.

Now, in the gloom and smoke of this new hell, I hunt.

They have attempted to hide themselves away, and I butcher them where they lay.

The soldiers are stringing wire from one fortification to the next, hoping to keep track of my movements.

But I kill the men as they establish the lines, cut those lines already laid, and wait for my prey in the shadows.

I have found a fresh set of wires. Two of them, and when I lean close, I can hear them humming with a peculiar sound. Occasionally, echoing in this smoke-filled wasteland, I can hear screaming.

There are monsters other than myself here, and they are hunting as well.

I cut the new wires, and then I sit down and wait, knife in hand.

I am not kept waiting long.

Soon, a team of two comes out. They are bent over, following the lines. Their movements are hasty, frightened. And they should be. They know that I am here, somewhere, for who else would cut the lines?

I wait for them to repair the wires, and as they prepare to leave, I attack.

My movements are swift and sure, each man dying within seconds.

Cleaning the blood off my blade, I follow the lines for a short way, and then I cut them again.

I will repeat this process until night falls, and it is too dark to see.

Then I will rest and wait.

I am not done killing.

#horror #fear #art #christmas

War in the Hollow: Dec. 21, ‘36

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They found me.

Or, rather, I found them.

I was moving through a gully, the faint hint of tobacco on the breeze telling me that my prey was near. I could hear whispering in French, the click and hum of a field-telephone. When I came in around the corner, I saw them.

One man asleep at the far end, one close to me on the field-telephone, and another five gathered around a periscope.

I heard my name whispered on their lips, and they bent to their task once more.

There are monsters in the Hollow, and I am one of them.

When they saw me, they went for their weapons.

I dragged the man on the telephone to his feet, the bullets of his comrades striking him instead of myself. Fury drove me forward, and I hurled the freshly made corpse at the gathered men. The sleeper struggled to his feet as I clawed my way through his comrades.

The bones in my hands broke as I crushed skulls within their helmets, collapsed orbital sockets and gouged out eyes. Men drowned in their own blood as I tore throats out with my teeth.

I was awash in the blood of my enemies, and I rejoiced in the cold brutality of it.

The sleeper raised his rifle, took aim, saw the last of his comrades collapse, and tried to flee.

I sprang upon, grasped his thick hair with a hand newly mended and still slick with blood, and drove his head into the earth. I pressed his face deep into the loom until I felt his forehead give way, his brains spill out onto the ground.

Behind me, the others gasped out their last, and I was alone with the dead.

A small fire sprang up among the leaves, ignited by a dropped cigarette. As the flames grew, I took my leave of the dead.

In my mouth, I tasted the coppery tang of their blood, and it was good.

#horror #fear #art #christmas

June 6, 2020

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Hello Everyone,
I wanted to let you know that today and tomorrow there will be no Cross posts. This morning, we buried my grandson, Oliver George Hennessey, who passed away on May 23, 2020. He was laid to rest in the same cemetery as my grandparents. The photo here is of my grandson’s coffin, which is perhaps the saddest thing I have ever seen.Thank you all for reading and supporting my work. I’ll be back on Monday.Be kind to one another.
Nick Efstathiou

April 20, 1930

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From the Gods’ Hollow journal of Duncan Blood.

 

April 20, 1930.

The house nearly killed me.

I was walking along the western edge of the Gods’ Hollow field when the house materialized not a dozen feet from me. It stank of cinders and charred air, roasted flesh, and sadness. Moaning came through the open windows while the entire structure groaned as it settled on its foundation.

The moans quickly changed into cries, which mutated into shrieks of desperation.

Against my better judgment, I entered the home.

The table was set for breakfast. Coffee boiled on the oven. A burnt woman stood by the back window, her hair gone and her flesh a horrific mockery of what it had once been. She turned to face me, her eyes melted within their sockets, her teeth blacked and cracked. With a scream of outraged sadness, she held her arms out to me.

I fired a single shot from each of the Colts and blew her brains out over the wall.

It was all I could do for her.

For a short time, I stood there. Then, I walked to the oven, found a cup and poured myself some coffee. The warmth of it chased the chill horror of Gods’ Hollow out of the pit of my stomach as I left the house to continue my search for the missing.

#CrossMassachusetts #horror #house #nightmare #fear #alternatereality #supernatural #scary #skull #gods